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“I'm happy to be able to stand up”

Health Rehabilitation
Kenya

Rashid fled Congo with his family in 2018. He has a disability and now lives in Kakuma refugee camp in Kenya, where Humanity & Inclusion has been supporting him.

Rashid and Julienne, his mother at Kakuma camp in Kenya in April 2022.

Rashid and Julienne, his mother at Kakuma camp in Kenya in April 2022. | © HI

On World Refugee Day, we share the story of Rashid, a four-year-old child with a disability who has lived in a refugee camp almost all his life.

Life has a disabled refugee child 

In the Kivu region of DR Congo, Julienne, Rashid's mother, soon noticed that her son had difficulty walking at 18 months old.

"I noticed that Rashid had a problem when he started walking. He didn't walk like the other children. I can't explain where this comes from because nobody in the family has the same problem," says Julienne.

Rashid before the operations on his legs.

Rashid's family then made the decision to flee the violence and fighting in north-eastern Congo in February 2018. They took refuge in Kakuma camp in Kenya. There, the other children made fun of Rashid because of his disability. He could not play with them and felt excluded.

"The other children rejected him and made fun of him," explains Julienne.

Rashid's new life

Soon, Humanity & Inclusion's (HI) rehabilitation team in Kakuma camp diagnosed Rashid as having an impairment affecting his knees. In September 2021, the little boy underwent surgery on one of his legs at the Kakuma Mission Hospital, which works in collaboration with HI. The operation was successful, enabling his other leg to be operated on too.

After several months with his legs in a cast, Rashid is now walking without any problems. He is still supported with muscle strengthening and mobility exercises.

"I'm very happy to stand up without the other kids making fun of me," says Rashid.

Rashid after his operations.

Julienne, his mother, is also very happy to see her son’s progress. Rashid is back at Shambela Primary School and has made many friends. He is very popular with his teachers, who find him friendly and lively.

About Kakuma refugee camp

Located in Turkana County, north-western Kenya, Kakuma refugee camp was established in 1992. It hosts over 200,000 refugees from 13 different countries. Over 40% of the refugees are South Sudanese and over 30% are Somalis.

HI assists over 15,000 people in Kakuma camp. Our teams provide rehabilitation, mental health and psychosocial support. We also run a child protection programme, as a refugee camp can be a difficult environment with high levels of crime. These actions carried out by HI are funded by USAID.

Date published: 20/06/22

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